7 Questions With Author Denis Scott
Denis Scott is an indie author currently writing under the name of E. D. Robson. He is in his sixties lives in the U.K. and is retired (on and off) having left school to work for a few years as a merchant seaman on cargo ships and oil tankers, followed by a variety of other roles including police officer. He finally moved on to teaching and training, most recently teaching psychology and sociology.
He spent over twenty years on part-time study, mainly through the U.K.’s Open University studying a range of modules from mathematics to history and the social sciences, collecting both a BSc in psychology and a BA along the way, plus a Master’s in Training and Development and teaching qualifications. His latest academic endeavour has been to attempt a part-time PhD (discontinued) studying inequality in higher education. He has published three lighthearted fantasy books in quick succession (the irrelevant One Saga) with a fourth under way. He is driven to try new things (as long as they don’t involve heights) and hopes to experiment with different genres and nonfiction in due course.
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What’s your definition of the first draft?
As I once said to a supervisor during my master’s dissertation ‘What’s a first draft? Do you expect me to do more than one?’
I must confess, I do read and re-read but never formalise it in my mind as a first, second etc. attempt. The only thing I will say is that there is always a final check, trying to make sure everything hangs together properly both storyline and format wise. (Although you always miss something, hence the importance of a beta reader).
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Much more a pantser. I just sit and type. If the story doesn’t flow I have the luxury of time to leave it alone for however long is necessary.
I love the challenge of developing a story as I go along. At one time, when delivering talks I used to ask, ‘what do you want me to talk about and for how long.’ Followed by ‘not knowing what I’m talking about has never stopped me before.’ (now you know why my books have not been too serious to date).
How do you manage to juggle life and writing?
At the moment my life is at a crossroads: children left home and moved far away, semi-retired, soon to move home etc. so the only thing that stops me writing is my mood at the time.
I do find it difficult sometimes to balance lying in, followed by a trip to the swimming pool, or the pub for lunch, then buying and reading my newspapers plus any books I have on the go, followed by hours of T.V. (watch almost anything except soaps and nature). I tell myself that once life is sorted out I will become much more disciplined but after a lifetime of experience I know that really I can only work in mad fits and bursts.
What would you do if you wouldn’t be writing?
See the answer to number 2! Plus I suppose some supply teaching when the agency catches up with me (I don’t want to close the door permanently but I do find it soul destroying sometimes).
I am a great believer in keeping going, my problem is that I don’t like being told what to do and I enjoy being able to drop everything and go somewhere or do something else when I feel like it. (my problem, I call it my ‘little boy’ syndrome).
What should readers expect from your next novel?
I am taking a break from ‘The Irrelevant One Saga’ and am currently working on ‘Monika with a ‘K’ saves the world’. Again it is a light hearted science fiction/fantasy about a shy librarian in an English market town who wakes up naked and genetically altered in a dentist’s chair having been kidnapped by a pair of aliens disguised as Chinese dentists. She escapes, to be arrested by a police officer for running around in a coat stolen from a charity shop, and so the adventure begins (just some of my everyday ramblings).
What’s the best advice/feedback on writing you’ve ever received?
In a nut shell, expect nothing (suits my life philosophy, always expect the worst then you’ll be pleasantly surprised occasionally, instead of continually disappointed). Also, if you enjoy it, don’t give up.
Does the genre you normally read have a direct influence on your writing?
Definitely. I like the fantasy genre as it allows my mind to wander both as a reader and a writer. Having said that I also like things to make sense within the world they are set. I have never gone overboard on descriptions, not because I can’t (who knows?) but because I feel creating the scene in my own mind is readings advantage over viewing. I have never been able to draw but have always felt something intensely personal about creating images in my own mind.
This may be the reason I find it difficult to read something after I have seen a T.V. or film adaptation. I do read beyond science fiction/fantasy occasionally (romance is the only one I seem to actively avoid, perhaps it’s because of social conditioning as a male through life, although when I was 14 my English teacher told my mother I’d never be any good at the subject as I wasn’t romantic, it would be nice to prove her wrong). In due time, I hope to widen my reading and writing beyond my comfort zone.
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